Delivers what it promises through its content. The narration is appropriate in the information it provides. The book does more than just describing the rise of one family, instead this is a peek into the way young India grew post Independence from license Raj to a more liberal economy.
I would like to say a few things about the author. The amount of research and information hunting that has gone into making this book is astonishing. The cover of the book is simple but often times I found myself closing the book and staring at Dhirubhai's face. When the sons grew up and dropped out of their educations to help their father out, the reign of Dhirubhai's empire soared.
Dhirubhai Ji had several characteristics such as that of humility and lacked any reminder of an ego. He also had a great memory and never forgot names. A friend of mine told me that he recognized his grandfather after many years. The grandfather uses to be a rich man and Dhirubhai was not so rich. D would wait outside the grandfathers office for hours trying to get an apppontment. Years later they were both in the same elevator in Mumbai. The grandfather was embarrased but Dhirubhai was fortchcoming and spoke in the same manner as he did all those years ago waiting outside his office. He remembered distinct details abotu my friends grandfather despite seeing him after 2 decades. This is the mark of this man.
In this book, He faces 300 issues on an annual basis but came over every obstacle to win almost every battle against every competitor and that also in differing fields such as polyster, then oil, telephony, land acquisition, SEZ, education, grocieries, entertainment, communications, newspaper media, petroleum refinery, etc. Somewhere toward the end of the book the author says that Reliance mastered acuqiring trust of various Government individuals in a way better than any other company could. Reliance knew of reforms before anyone else did. Dhirubhai had a habit of apprasing potential CEO's. He would go to all potential CEO's and tell them he has put in a word for them. This way no matter who Dhirubhai was owed a favor and the individuals never forgot.
The book has a lot of technical jargaon with respect to issue of shares, debentures, convertible debentures and the stock market indiices. It really challenged my limited knowledge and there were several pages where little was understood. I didn't lose heart and persisted with the book but I understood from a gist the context. The book is not written in an essay format.
The author has written the book from the start of Dhirubhai's life and tracing his life through ADEN. He also mentions a lot about Gujaratis and their values and how these values and their practice brought the Reliance empire where it is today.
The book is not an easy one to read. It took me 11 days maybe. The pace of the book and its overall content and last 25% is why I gave it 5 stars. Once Reliance enters the year 2002 things start happening and the writing is simply exquisite and thrilling.
I enjoyed the ineraction and rivalry between BOMBAY DYEING and INDIAN EXPRESS. WADIA and GOENKAS make for worthy adversaries. In this book, the protagonist is often antagonistic and villain-like to most men. Yet he practices on the surface a most magnetic personality. The split between the two brothers - Mukesh and Anil was also a great read because things moved fast by then. Several characters resurface in this book and the level of research is stunning.
I loved this book. It has taught me something. It begs the conventional attiude I settle in. It begs the need for it to change. For one to realise one's true goal and be fearless in the eyes of defeat.
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Dhirubhai's life is described in amazing detail, and the story continues even after his death about how Mukesh and Anil responded post their father's demise. A very informative read. Must read for anyone.
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